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Activities - Park activities

 

The National Parks are managed by a small team of seven well-trained staff. Typical park activities are diverse and planned staff activities can change suddenly in response to an emergency situation or weather change. Activities are also extremely variable, constantly providing challenges for staff, ranging from infrastructure maintenance, boat or hiker rescue through to law enforcement.

St Eustatius National Marine Park
Staff and intern activities within the National Marine Park encompass the core management programmes of mooring installation and maintenance, patrols and enforcement, research and monitoring as well as education, as briefly described below:

  • Installation, security checks and maintenance (including cleaning) of 12 moorings for yachts, 3 moorings for snorkellers and 28 moorings for divers, as well as three Southern Reserve marker buoys.
  • Patrols of the entire park and enforcement of regulations regarding anchoring, fishing, diving, wastewater, pollutants, etc. Rangers are responsible for ensuring environmental laws are upheld.
  • Education and awareness raising about the importance of marine conservation through Snorkel Clubs, Junior Ranger Clubs, Mini-guides for divers and yachters, Signboard for yachts.
  • Monitoring programmes to assess recreational use by divers and yachters, long term change in fishery, coral and invertebrate populations at two sites.
  • Research projects to solve or highlight environmental issues, inform legislation and policy, and provide a tool for management, such as fishery population studies, tanker anchoring impact, conch population assessment, and more.
  • Monitoring of all activities, in particular ensuring all dives by non-residents are supervised, and supervising visiting live-aboard vessels.
  • Management of turtle conservation programme to protect three species of nesting and resident sea turtles.
  • Enhancement of diving and fishing activities through creation of three artificial reefs since 1997, including one 100 metre shipwreck ‘the Charles Brown’.
  • Advisory role to government for coastal development, tourism and pollution, such as a beach stabilisation project using ‘Reefballs’.
  • Organisation of talks and tours for tourists and visiting groups, including turtle conservation tours to Zeelandia Beach and Reef Protection talks.

Quill / Boven National Park
For most of the work in the National Park, a National Park ranger is assisted by interns and trail crews of international volunteers. Core management activities include maintenance of a network of ten hiking trails in the Quill sub-sector, patrols and enforcement, public awareness and promotion, as well as research and monitoring, as below:

  • Development and maintenance of a network of eighteen hiking trails, in particularly the heavily used Quill trail, leading from upper town to the volcano rim, and Crater trail, from the rim into the crater and culminating in a circular trail.
  • Display of information boards and signposts at the entrance of the park and along trails, so that independent hikers are fully informed and cannot become lost.
  • Research and monitoring includes reptile, bird and plant surveys; both in-house surveys as well as visiting scientists that come to assist the National Parks with surveys of fauna and flora.
  • Routine patrolling and enforcement of park laws and regulations; Rangers are qualified as special agents of police to enforce all park laws.
  • Organisation of guided hikes for school, church and youth groups, as well as tourists and visiting cruise ships.

Miriam Schmidt Botanical Garden
Most of the work in the Botanical Garden is led by the Ranger, who is assisted by interns and groups of international volunteers. This area of land is leased by the Island Government to STENAPA and, as such, is not subject to any regulations. The Garden is fenced to prevent entry by roaming livestock and activities include the following:

  • Maintenance of Phase 1 Gardens (Sensory Garden, Lookout Garden, Palm Garden and pond).
  • Display of information boards about the garden areas and specific plants, in addition to labelling of key plant species.
  • Development of Phase 2 Gardens (Fruit Garden and Children’s Garden).
  • Ongoing trail maintenance of the Jean Gemmill Bird Observation Trail that winds through the rear wooded area and links to the Quill National Park trail system.
  • Organisation of guided tours for school, church and youth groups, as well as tourists.

 

 

Intern replacing dive site buoy

 

National Marine park ranger on patrol

 

Local art class uses Botanical Garden as inspiration

 

Trail maintenance crew

 

Hiking signs in the Quill National Park

 

Garden maintenance